Jake Owen talks running from stage during Route 91 shooting: 'It was chaotic'

Country singer Jake Owen performed just before Jason Aldean on Sunday night (Oct. 1) and was standing on the side of the stage when a gunman opened fire and killed at least 50 and injured more than 200 during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Speaking to NBC News, Owen described the chaotic scene as it unfolded. 

"I was on the stage. I had just walked up on the stage with a couple friends of mine, including Luke Combs, another artist who had played earlier, and we were literally standing 50 feet from where Jason was on stage, and all of a sudden, you heard what sounded – it was kind of a think where you were like, 'Was that gunfire?' – and it got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle," he said. "You could hear it ringing off the rafters off the top of the stage. That’s when you saw people fleeing. At that point, people on stage just started running everywhere possible. And it was pretty chaotic, for sure." 

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LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: A man lays on top of a woman as others flee the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 2 people dead. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01:  A person lies on the ground covered with blood at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01:  A person lies on the ground at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: (People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People take cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: A man in a wheelchair is taken away from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
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Owen said he ran in the opposite direction of where his usual shelter would be, his tour bus, which was on the other side of the stage. "So I kind of just ran like everyone else. At one point, I was crouched down behind a cop car with about 20 other people that had come to the show, and everyone’s asking if everyone’s okay," he said. "There’s blood on people, and you could see a couple folks on the street that looked like they’d been shot lying there. It was chaotic. It was literally like a movie that you feel like you’ve seen before that’s not real life." 

Asked how long it felt like from when the shooting began -- which a number of eyewitnesses said they first believed were fireworks to celebrate the end of the concert -- to when it ended, Owen said it seemed like "close to 10 minutes." Speaking to CNN on Monday morning, Owen said that considering the 64-year-old shooter, who has been identified and confirmed dead, was on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort overlooking the festival grounds it was "like shooting fish in a barrel, I hate to say that." 

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There are no words to express the helplessness and sorrow my broken heart feels for the victims in Vegas and their families.
It’s unimaginable. And yet it's real. I don't know where to begin. Watching, crying, and sending love.
Praying for all those in pain
Praying for all the innocent victims and their families in Las Vegas - Céline xx... #LasVegas
Completely heartbroken over the news this morning. Keeping the victims of last night's tragedy in Las Vegas in my p… https://t.co/T3mbcNPmie
This is terrorism plain and simple. Terror bares no race, gender or religion. Democrats & Republicans please unite now #guncontrol 🇺🇸
Prayers are important but @SpeakerRyan @realDonaldTrump blood is on the hands of those who have power to legislate.… https://t.co/oQqCXn2vdA
4 anyone who'd like to join, I'm doing a 20 minute moment of meditation/silence/prayer on my InstagramLive for calming of the 🌎 @ 3:30 PST
My heart is breaking for Las Vegas. We need love, unity, peace, gun control & for people to look at this & call this what it is = terrorism.
💔my heart. @Route91Harvest.
Michelle & I are praying for the victims in Las Vegas. Our thoughts are with their families & everyone enduring another senseless tragedy.
After unimaginable grief, Nelba continues to work for children & against gun violence. Today what she has to say is… https://t.co/htCPJqJJyb
They don't deserve to govern our nation. Please vote in 2018 https://t.co/IK8du2CH7E
What is happening to our world? 🙏🏼
💔 My thoughts and prayers are with you 💔 #StopThisHate #StopTheViolence 😢
Praying for everyone here in Vegas. I witnessed the most unimaginable event tonight. We are okay. Others arent. Please pray.
Horrified to hear about the shooting in #LasVegas. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Praying for everyone's safety 🙏💔
Lord help us
I ❤️ Las Vegas...feeling so broken this morning
Devastating news. Horrible. Sick. Unfathomable.
My heart breaks...biggest mass shooting in US history. Praying for Las Vegas.
Devastated waking up to the news of the shooting in Las Vegas. Praying for the victims and their families and friends. #PRAYERSFORVEGAS
Woke up to the heartbreaking news from Las Vegas, my thoughts are with everyone and their families. Love. H
Smh it was never this bad. Places u go to enjoy have become so unsafe!😢Prayers 4 those in Las Vegas who was there & the victims families🙏🏾
My heart is breaking for everyone in Vegas tonight. Simply devastating. So much loss.
Saying a prayer for all the victims & their loved ones, also for the residents & visitors of Las Vegas! This was a horrific act of terror!!
I feel like every day is more shocking and sad...My heart is broken for all the victims of last night's shooting in Vegas, & their families
It sickens me the ease in which a TERRORIST can be sold a GUN. Is the ease really worth all these lives ?! This needs to stop.
This isn't the first shooting, and not the first deaths. Regardless he is a terrorist. Shame on him, not just on gu… https://t.co/iux7E0UZkH
The lone wolf. The local shooter. The gunman. Any and everything, but terrorist. Wonder why.
GUN CONTROL NOW. ENOUGH ALREADY. GROW THE FUCK UP. THE AVERAGE PERSON DOESN'T NEED A FUCKING MACHINE GUN. ENOUGH ALREADY. ENOUGH. ENOUGH.
AND DON'T TALK ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMFNT. THEY WEREN'T TALKING ABOUT AUTOMATIC WEAPONS & ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT NONSENSE IS ENABLING MASS MURDER
This is heartbreaking to learn about! Things have got to change! 🙏🏽
Woke up to hear about the tremendous loss of life & thinking about all the loved ones heartbroken & devastated. Love & Light & prayers 🙏🏾🙏🏾
Heroes. https://t.co/7ZcgEjUgpy
I just landed & I'm devastated to hear what happened in Las Vegas. So unbelievably horrifying. My thoughts and prayers are with all there. 💔
Praying for everyone at #HarvestFestival. There are no words right now that suffice.
🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 https://t.co/BU0uE79MnX
Thank you to the Las Vegas first responders, in the thick of the terrible shootings there. Your actions helped save lives tonight.
I mourn this senseless loss of life. What will it take, #Congress, for you to act? @Everytown @MomsDemand… https://t.co/XEEdlIH3Jv
Don't even know what to say. To be in Vegas while this is happening, brings a pain to my heart. My team and I are safe Thank God! Prayers up
There have been more than 11,600 deaths linked to gun violence so far in 2017, which is equivalent to nearly four 9/11 attacks. NRA
Oh God. Vegas. WTF is happening. Can’t keep up with all the pain this country is facing. Sending love to Vegas.
My heart is breaking for the innocent people in Las Vegas. This is absolutely devastating.
Just sad. And so sorry for the fans who came to sing and dance and be free and happy. thinking of everyone there & my friend @Jason_Aldean.
I can't believe this!! The deadliest mass shooting in US history! 😩My sincerest condolences to everybody there! My prayers are with you! 💔
We are safe... our angels were definitely watching over us tonight. No words for what happened... Just horrific. Praying for everyone💔
Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate
I can't sleep. I'm sick to my stomach about this. Why? I wanna say pray, but if there is a god, why did this happen?I'm disgusted and so sad
It's just so hard to understand 💔
So devastated by this. Innocent people having fun with their loved ones, enjoying life... and it's taken from them for absolutely no reason. I don't understand this world sometimes. Life is so fragile. Sending so much love, thoughts, and prayers to everyone in Las Vegas ❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏🙏
Watching the news in tears. Something needs to change!!!!!!! This hate has to stop!!!!! Heartbreaking
Oh God. Just woke up to this sickening news. What is happening to this country? Those poor poor people. I’m numb.
My heart breaks for Las Vegas. The victims and their loved ones. Thank you to all the first responders who rushed to help.
My heart feels broken for everyone in Las Vegas. Music should always be a safe place. My thoughts and prayers to everyone there.
No words. Just grief, sadness, and the never-ending attempt to make sense of something utterly senseless. Love to all in Las Vegas.
Devastated by the news of Vegas. The prayers don't stop. Everyday, a new prayer. My heart is heavy. #GunControlNow
It would be wise to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and silencers. None of which is excessive. https://t.co/oaPIk4lbWO
We are strong. They can not break us. We are strong. We are strong. We are strong.
I believe in prayer, but it's not enough by itself. We need better LAWS. In no world does a CIVILIAN need a MACHINE GUN. Let's fix this.
A beautiful reminder that Las Vegas is a community - not just a collection of casinos. Please donate blood https://t.co/iCrn8AMOL8
Mass shootings cause gun stocks to rise. They're making money off tragedy. Are you ok with your reps being bought w… https://t.co/NPn5Y75wXm
Today might be a good day to commit a selfless act of kindness for someone else.
Can we discuss the loss of rights of people going to a concert because of the lack of assault rifle regulations?
heartbreaking to hear about Vegas my love goes out to the victims praying for everyone & their families 💔
No, Howard. It's urgent right now. And it doesn't stop! It keeps happening in America. Nowhere else like this.… https://t.co/zN0CEIJ4MN
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Once the barrage of fire in what has now become the largest mass shooting in U.S. history began Owen said he and his crew ran to their crew bus and lay on the floor as the shots continued to ring out. "That's mind-boggling," Owen said upon hearing that the incident had surpassed the 49 deaths from the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Owen was not able to gain access to his tour bus as of Monday morning because it was still part of the crime scene. "I mean, it was chaos for a pure seven to 10 minutes," he told NBC.

"The men and women who fight for it for us, and we tend to – we live this life of not being scared, which I think is great, but you know, this is reality these days," he said of violence of the sort that broke out Sunday night. "This stuff’s really happening. We were all scared. And I do think – I think it’s important to say, too – the Las Vegas police department, the responders, you could tell they did everything they could to get out here as quickly as they could to take care of these people, and I think they really, definitely, need a shout-out, as well."

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